Multi-talented Rumer Willis joins ‘Empire’
It is said that growth, personal or professional, occurs when one steps out of one’s comfort zone and tries something new.
Count Rumer Willis as a true believer in that philosophy. Over the past two years, the 28-year-old singer/actress’ work has been plentiful and varied, ranging from her starring role as Roxie Hart in a Broadway production of “Chicago” and her “Over the Love” singing tour to her participation and victory in Season 20 of “Dancing With the Stars” and now, her gig as a recurring character in Fox’s hip-hop drama “Empire,” which resumes its third season Wednesday, March 22.
“It was, very much (satisfying),” she says of her triumph on “DTWS” in the fall of 2015, “and especially because it was something that was so out of my realm of comfort. You know dancing, I’ve always loved it but it’s never been my comfort zone so I think that that definitely pushed me to continue to want to step outside and challenge myself and it’s why I went on tour and now I think to a certain extent one of the reasons why I was able to get this show.”
In “Empire,” Willis plays Tory Ash, a brilliant but volatile singer/songwriter collaborating with Jamal (Jussie Smollett) on what will be his most important musical work yet.
“She’s definitely one of those kind of volatile rock star types who kind of just beats to her own drum, really does whatever she wants and doesn’t really have an awareness of anybody else,” Willis says. “And to a certain extent, I like the fact that she kind of does her own thing but she’s definitely a firestarter. … And I think she kind of lights a fire under him and gets him remembering why he fell in love with music so much, and I think in a certain way they really kind of help each other get back on a better path.”
Full name: Rumer Glenn Willis
Birth date: Aug. 16, 1988
Birthplace: Paducah, Ky. (raised in Hailey, Idaho)
Family ties: Is the oldest daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore; sisters are Scout and Tallulah
TV credits include: “Miss Guided,” “Army Wives,” “CSI: NY,” “Medium,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “90210,” “Workaholics,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Robot Chicken” (voice)
Movie credits include: “Now and Then” (1995), “Striptease” (1996), “The Whole Nine Yards” (2000), “Hostage” (2005), “The House Bunny” (2008), “Wild Cherry” (2009), “Six Letter Word” (2012), “The Odd Way Home” (2013), “Always Woodstock” (2014), “Luna Goes Cruising” (2015), “The Escort” (2015), “Woman on the Edge” (forthcoming)
Did you know?: Is named after Rumer Godden, a British novelist, and Glenn Gordon Caron, creator of “Moonlighting,” in which father Bruce had his first lead role
Favorite TV show: “I just started watching ‘The X-Files.’ I had never seen that. But I would say my favorite recent show is one called ‘Good Behavior.’ And obviously, I have to say I was a huge fan of ‘Empire’ before I was ever even on it (chuckles).”
Favorite movie: ” ‘True Romance.’ ”
Favorite musical artist: “Oh man, too many to count but anything from Led Zeppelin to Aretha Franklin and Billie Holliday. I have a very wide range of love of music.”